When New York tourist Ana Guerra was browsing books in The Gateway's Barnes & Noble on Tuesday, she had a nasty surprise. An employee carded two male youths who were only a couple of years younger than Guerra is.---
Guerra is 21 and visiting relatives in Salt Lake City. She was in Barnes & Noble shortly after it opened Feb. 28, when two youths with small backpacks and baggy clothing came in. A middle-age employee asked the two youths, "Why aren't you in school?" One of them responded that they didn't have to be. The woman insisted they "should be in school," and asked how old they were.
"We're 18," said the talkative one.
"I'm going to have to see some ID," the woman told them.
The youths dragged out their wallets and showed her their IDs. One was 18, the other 19, Guerra says.
"Well, you still should be in school," the woman told them.
Guerra says she was appalled. "It wasn't right," she says. "It was none of her business. Coming from New York where nobody cares about anybody, people in this state care a little too much about what's going on." While concern about others "can be good, in this case it was, at best, pedantic and annoying. It's not their responsibility."
A Barnes & Noble employee in the manager's office referred a call for comment to The Gateway's security office. Apparently, teenagers leaving school during class hours is a problem at The Gateway. A security officer confirmed that it is the mall's policy to "check if they are supposed to be in school," by asking for ID.
Inside Barnes & Noble, however, that's a matter for their own policy, he added.
Guerra isn't happy with the response. "She had no right asking for their ID," she says. "It led me to think she'd ask me, in which case I'd have cursed her out and left."